Inboard boat engines are a complex piece of machinery and, as such, can experience a wide variety of problems.
Problems with inboard boat engines can cause significant inconvenience and expense for boaters. These problems can include difficulty starting the engine, overheating, decreased performance, and more.
Todd Vogel is here to help you diagnose and repair your inboard boat engine problems.
Engine problems: Losing power
If you’re giving her all she’s got and your boat still feels like it’s inching through the water, you’ve got engine problems, or you’re out of gas. One way to check if you’re out of gas is to see if the engine sputters when you give it gas. If it does, there might still be enough in the tank to get you back to shore.
If your boat has an inboard engine, you might have a fuel system problem. Check the fuel filter and fuel lines for any blockages or leaks. You should also check the electrical system, including the battery, alternator, and starter, for any issues.
The next engine problems is overheating.
Engine problems: Overheating
If your engine is overheating, it could be because the cooling system isn’t working properly. Check the water pump belt to make sure it’s tight and not slipping. You should also check the water intake for any blockages.
If the engine is still overheating, it could be because the head gasket is blown. This is a serious issue that will need to be fixed by a mechanic.
Engine problems: Backfiring
If your engine is backfiring, it could be because the timing is off. This is an easy fix that can be done by a mechanic.
It could also be because of a fuel system problem. Check the fuel filter and fuel lines for any blockages or leaks. You should also check the carburetor for any issues.
A flat battery is the most common cause of engine trouble. If your engine won’t start, it could be because the battery is dead. You can test the battery with a voltmeter to see if it’s getting power. If not, you’ll need to replace the battery.
If the battery is getting power but the engine still won’t start, it could be because of a problem with the starter or alternator. You’ll need to take the boat to a mechanic to have these parts checked.
Broken drive belt
One of the most common engine problems on boats is a broken drive belt. The drive belt is what connects the engine to the propeller. If it breaks, the engine will still run, but the boat won’t move. You’ll need to take the boat to a mechanic to have the drive belt replaced.
Motor stops suddenly
If your boat engine stalls when accelerating, it may be a simple problem. Hopefully, someone accidentally hit the kill switch. This safety feature is there to prevent serious accidents. The kill switch is usually located near the steering wheel.
If the kill switch wasn’t accidentally hit, an electrical problem will cause your outboard motor to stall whenever you try to accelerate. It’s possible that you blew a fuse or tripped a circuit breaker.
There is also the possibility that it was brought on by a frayed connection or deterioration in the wiring. By performing regular inspections of the electrical components, you may avoid these problems.
Engine prop vibration
Engine vibration can be caused by many things, but most commonly it’s due to an imbalanced propeller. You can check the balance of your propeller by hanging it from a string and seeing if it sits level. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to have the propeller balanced by a mechanic.
Vibration can also be caused by worn engine mounts. These are the pieces that connect the engine to the boat. If they’re worn, they won’t reduce vibration as much as they should. You’ll need to take the boat to a mechanic to have the engine mounts replaced.
Can’t shift into gear
If you can’t shift your boat into gear, it’s probably because the shift cable is broken. The shift cable is what connects the shifter to the transmission. You’ll need to take the boat to a mechanic to have the shift cable replaced.
It could also be because the transmission is low on fluid. You can check the transmission fluid level by looking at the dipstick. If it’s low, you’ll need to add more fluid. You can buy transmission fluid at any auto parts store.
Trim is stuck in one position
If the trim on your boat is stuck in one position, it’s probably because the trim motor is burned out. You can check the trim motor by trying to move the trim up and down with the switch. If the trim doesn’t move, you’ll need to take the boat to a mechanic to have the trim motor replaced.
It could also be because the wrong type of oil was used in the power steering system. You can check the oil level by looking at the dipstick. If it’s low, you’ll need to add more oil. You can buy power steering fluid at any auto parts store.
Boat filling with water
If your boat starts to fill with water, it’s probably because the bilge pump isn’t working properly. You can check the bilge pump by feeling for a steady stream of water coming out of the hose that goes from the pump to the engine. If there’s no water coming out, or if the stream is weak, you’ll need to take the boat to a mechanic to have the bilge pump replaced.
It could also be because there’s a hole in the hull. You can check for holes by looking for cracks or leaks in the hull. If you find a hole, you’ll need to take the boat to a mechanic to have it repaired.
F.A.Q Common inboard boat engine problems
How many hours does an inboard engine last?
How many hours does the lifespan of boat engines average? Inboard engines, inboard outboard engines, and outboards that have been properly maintained typically have a lifespan of between 1500 and 2000 hours, during which time they are capable of performing their intended functions. If you are considering purchasing an inboard or outboard gas-powered marine engine that has close to or more than 1000 hours of operation, you should proceed with extreme care.
What causes an inboard motor to lose power?
One of the causes of a breakdown is running out of gasoline. You most likely have an issue with the filter or with clogged plugs. It’s possible that this is why the engine on your boat is losing power. The solution is to replace the gasoline filter that is in-line.
Are Mercruiser engines reliable?
The dependability of Mercruiser engines is the primary factor that leads boat owners to choose that choice. Utilizing an engine that you can rely on during the whole of your ownership is a significant benefit. Performance and fuel economy are two aspects of the Mercruiser that are highly valued by boat owners.
What is recommended maintenance for an inboard motor?
Every 100 hours, you should change the oil.
Oil changes are something that need to be performed on most inboard boats on a regular basis. You should refer to the owner’s handbook to learn how often you should replace the oil in your vehicle’s engine; however, a good rule of thumb to follow would be to do so every 100 hours the vehicle is driven. You may teach yourself how to do this on your own, or you can take the boat to the dealer in your area.
Boat engines are complex machines, and there are many things that can go wrong with them. By being aware of the most common problems, you can help avoid them. Regular maintenance and inspection will also go a long way towards keeping your engine running smoothly.